Taking Egypt out of the Jews- The Korban Pesach
Taste of Parasha
The Jewish nation was physically ready to be taken out of Egyptbut how was Egyptgoing to be taken out of the Jews? How would their mindset be changed from that of a slave to that of a Jew? The Jews were accustomed to thinking of themselves as lowly insignificant people. How were they to be re-educated to think of themselves as honorable and respectable people, the nation of G-d? The answer lies in a series of commandments given to us while waiting at the brink of freedom. The Chinuch writes that by acting in a dignified manner one accustoms himself to living in a dignified manner. G-d gave us many Mitzvos, “K’dei Lezakos es Yisroel (in order to give merit to the Jews).” The Chinuch understands this to mean that in order to become a dignified people we are given constant opportunities to carry ourselves with a regal bearing. When we perform Mitzvos we become exalted through our exalted actions. This is true with regard to all Mitzvos in general and specifically to the Mitzvos given to the Jewish Nation on the eve of our redemption. Most notably is the commandment not to break the bone of the Pascal lamb. By simply pulling away from the desire for another morsel of meat that could be reached by breaking a bone, we not only left Egypt but Egypt left us.
Taste of Talmud
Does the prohibition against breaking a bone of the Pascal lamb apply to a bone without any meat on it? This question is addressed in the Talmud in tractate Pesachim (84a). The majority opinion is that from the extra word, “bo” (in it) in Exodus, Chapter 12, Verse 46, we can derive that as long as the offering is valid one is prohibited from breaking any of its bones. Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi disagrees. He bases himself on the fact that this prohibition is said after the command to eat the meat. Therefore, he understands that one only transgresses this prohibition if he is breaking a bone in order to facilitate the eating of the meat. This is the way Rav Ashi understands the debate between these Tanaim: They are discussing the law of a completely meatless bone. Ravina is of the opinion that the debate between the sages and Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi involved a different question: They were debating whether or not a bone with a piece of meat on it may be broken at another spot where there is no meat. With regard to this dilemma, Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi disagrees with the sages. The sages say it is prohibited to break any bone that has meat on it even at a spot not covered with meat. Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi opines that as long as there is no meat at the point of the break, it is permissible to break it. With respect to the question of a completely meatless bone, he says there is no debate whatsoever and it is permitted to be broken.
Taste of Halacha
If we were to look at the opinions before us to try to determine the final Halacha, what would we conclude? One of the rules in determining the final Halacha is that we follow the opinion of a teacher when he has a difference of opinion with his student. We would therefore have to conclude that it is prohibited to break the bone of the Pascal lamb, even if it was completely meatless, because that is the way Rav Ashi understood the majority opinion, and he was the teacher of Ravina. However, the Rambam decides the Halacha in accordance with the view- point of Ravina that there is no prohibition regarding the breaking of a completely meatless bone. Why does the Rambam deviate from the classical rules for determining the halacha in this case?The Minchas Chinuch suggests that the Rambam bases his decision on the fact that Rabbi Yochanan sides with the opinion of Ravina with respect to the law of a bone with meat on one side of it. This is indicative of the fact that he is in concordance with the opinion of Ravina. Once Ravina and Rabbi Yochanan are in agreement, it is appropriate to side with that opinion also with respect to the law of a completely meatless bone because these two laws are based on the same verse and are inter-dependent.